What are the common symptoms of breast cancer?
The symptoms of breast cancer may not be easily noticed at an early stage. Any of the following changes in the breast can be a symptom of breast cancer:
• Breast lump;
• A change in the size or shape of the breast;
• A change in skin texture of the breast or nipple (e.g. red, scaly, thickened or “orange-skin” appearance);
• Rash around the nipple;
• In-drawing of the nipple;
• Discharge from one or both nipples;
• New and persistent discomfort or pain in the breast or armpit; and
• A new lump or thickening in the armpit
What is breast cancer screening? Should I screen for breast cancer if I do not have any symptom?
Screening means examining people without symptoms in order to detect disease or fi nd people at increased risk of disease. It is often the fi rst step in making a defi nitive diagnosis. For breast cancer screening, its purpose is to fi nd women who have breast cancer, before they have any symptom, in order to offer them earlier treatment.
Mammography is widely used as a screening tool. It is an X-ray examination of the breasts. During mammography, the breast is pressed between 2 plates to flatten and spread the breast tissue, in order to obtain a clear image. Some women may find it uncomfortable or painful but the discomfort is usually short lasting. Mammography screening is safe in general and only a very small dose of radiation is used in the procedure. One in 5 female breast cancer patients may be missed by mammography.